HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — The Township Committee agreed to provide legal coverage to three township police officers and the police chief accused in litigation of singling individuals out for retribution.
The measure passed without discussion at the committee meeting Monday night as part of a longer list of uncontested items.
At issue are three suits filed by attorney Conrad J. Benedetto.
In the first, one-time township police officer Nicholas J. Dare accused the township of passing him over for promotion and selectively pressing internal affairs charges, while requiring tests and evaluations he considered harassing. Township police were looking to fire him over a new set of internal affairs charges when he committed suicide in January.
His brother, Jason D. Dare, 37, a State Police trooper, filed suit in February. He said township police identified him as Nicholas Dare’s brother and wrongly cited him for driving while intoxicated in 2011 after banging his head in a crash after dodging a deer. He was later found not guilty.
Former Township Committeeman Charles Cain, 48, also filed suit in February, saying township police targeted him around the time of a controversial 2011 vote on police layoffs. He later pleaded guilty, and has appealed the case.
Township police have denied wrongdoing in all three instances. In addition to Chief Stacy Tappeiner, the officers to be provide legal coverage are Capt. Michael Petuskey, Sgt. Chris Gehring and Senior Patrol Officer James Esposito.
Contact Derek Harper:
Follow Derek Harper on Twitter @dnharper